Apprentice fund call for jobless youths

By Pádraig Hoare

A €22m investment in apprenticeships — including animation and horticulture along with the more traditional trades — would halve long-term youth unemployment by the end of 2019, it has been claimed.

That is according to National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) deputy director, James Doorley ahead of the organisation’s pre-budget submission.

The organisation said it was concerned about more than 8,900 young people unemployed for more than 12 months.

NYCI figures showed there were 12,849 apprentices in training last year, up from 10,445 in 2016. 

The body called for €2m to be invested in an “access to apprenticeship” programme, which is aimed at encouraging young people from disadvantaged areas into new trades.

An access to apprenticeship pilot programme has been successfully developed by Dublin Institute of Technology for 16 to 24-year-olds.

Mr Doorley said: “It is vital that these opportunities remain open to all young people — in particular, young people who are economically and socially disadvantaged and those who have limited formal qualifications.”

Construction bodies and academics have warned the lack of apprenticeships is creating a shortfall in labour. 

The Construction Industry Federation has said apprenticeship numbers have declined in traditional wet-trades such as bricklaying, plastering, painting and decorating and tiling.

The dearth of apprenticeships in traditional trades like plastering and tiling is “frightening”, the president of CIT warned earlier this year.

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